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Wayne Pocket Rocket McCullough (born Wayne William McCullough; 7 July 1970)[1] is a former professional boxer from Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
who competed from 1993 to 2008. He held the WBC bantamweight title from 1995 to 1997, and challenged six times for world titles at super-bantamweight and featherweight. As an amateur, McCullough represented Ireland at the 1992 Summer Olympics, winning a bantamweight silver medal. He also won flyweight gold at the 1990 Commonwealth Games, representing Northern Ireland. In addition to McCullough's dogged, relentless attacking style,[2] he was renowned for his durable chin, having fought two of boxing's biggest punchers in Naseem Hamed
Naseem Hamed
and Érik Morales, and going the full distance with both of them. During his bout with Morales in 1999, HBO commentator Larry Merchant joked, "If you look in the dictionary, under 'Tough Irishman', you'll find a picture of Wayne McCullough". McCullough was never once knocked down in his professional career. He also stopped the late Arturo Gatti
Arturo Gatti
as an amateur.[3]

Contents

1 Amateur career

1.1 1988 Olympic Games 1.2 1990 Commonwealth Games 1.3 1990 World Cup 1.4 1991 World Championships 1.5 1992 Olympic Games

2 Professional career

2.1 McCullough vs. Martínez 2.2 Retirement

3 Personal life 4 Professional boxing record 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

Amateur career[edit] McCullough had a very successful amateur career, amassing a record of 319 wins and 11 defeats, with over 100 wins coming by way of knockout. As an amateur living in the staunchly loyalist Shankill Road
Shankill Road
area of Belfast, he was selected by the island-wide Irish Amateur Boxing Association to participate in the 1988 Summer Olympics
1988 Summer Olympics
in Seoul, Korea, and asked to carry the Irish flag as the youngest member of the team (aged 18). He went on to win a silver medal for Ireland at the 1992 Summer Olympics
1992 Summer Olympics
in Barcelona. Representing Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
at the 1990 Commonwealth Games, Auckland, he won a gold medal and carried the Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
flag in the closing ceremony. The medal ceremony for his Commonwealth title was marked by an unusual incident. A technical problem with the public address system made it impossible to play the recording of the song "Danny Boy", used instead of an anthem for medalists from Northern Ireland. The New Zealand official in charge of the sound, Bob Gibson, promptly took the microphone and sang the song unaccompanied.[4] In 1990, McCullough also won Bronze for Ireland at the Boxing World Cup in Mumbai, India. 1988 Olympic Games[edit]

Representing Ireland at Light Flyweight, in the Seoul Olympic Games. Results were:

First Round bye Defeated Fred Mutuweta – Points Lost to Scotty Olson – Points

1990 Commonwealth Games[edit]

Representing Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
at Flyweight and winning Gold, in the Aukland Commonwealth Games. Results were:

Defeated Benjamin Mwangata – Points Defeated Maurice Maina – Points Defeated Nokuthula Tshabangu – Points

1990 World Cup[edit]

Representing Ireland at Flyweight and winning Bronze, in the Mumbai World Cup. Results were:

Defeated Manoj Pingle – Points Defeated D.K. Park – Points Lost to Serafim Todorov – Points Defeated Fred Mutuweta – Points

1991 World Championships[edit]

Representing Ireland at Bantamweight, in the Sydney World Championships. Results were:

Defeated Felipe Costa – TKO (Round 2) Defeated Joseph Zabakly – Points Lost to Enrique Carrion
Enrique Carrion
– Points

1992 Olympic Games[edit]

Representing Ireland at Bantamweight and winning Silver, in the Barcelona Olympic Games. Results were:

Defeated Fred Mutuweta – Points Defeated Ahmed Abbood – Points Defeated Mohammed Sabo – Points Defeated Gwang-Sik Li – Points Lost to Joel Casamayor – Points

Professional career[edit]

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In 1993 McCullough moved to Las Vegas to train under Eddie Futch, who agreed to train him after seeing him at the Olympics. McCullough always fought in neutral colours and did not have national anthems played at his fights; his supporters in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
include Protestants and Catholics. Within a year of turning pro, he had won the North American Boxing Federation title. On 30 July 1995, less than 2½ years since his pro debut, he won the WBC championship by beating the champion Yasuei Yakushiji in Nagoya, Japan
Japan
to become Ireland's first ever WBC world champion. He was the first (and to date the only) fighter from Ireland or the UK to travel to Japan
Japan
and win a belt. He defended his title twice before vacating the belt and moving up in weight to challenge WBC super bantamweight champion Daniel Zaragoza, but lost via a split decision in the WBC "Fight of the Year". After this fight, his wife Cheryl and Stuart Campbell began to manage his career when his original manager, Mat Tinley, became a boxing promoter. McCullough unsuccessfully challenged champions Naseem Hamed
Naseem Hamed
in 1998, and Erik Morales
Erik Morales
in 1999. In each of those exciting "Fight of the Year" contenders, he broke his opponent's lengthy run of KO wins while taking them the distance. Hamed had knocked out 18 opponents straight before McCullough, and was 30–0 at the time with 28 knockouts to his credit. Morales had knocked out 9 of his previous 9 opponents and was 34–0 at the time, also with 28 knockouts. Morales stated that McCullough gave him one of the top three fights of his career and almost quit on his stool after the 9th round (according to Ring magazine). In October 2000, McCullough was to return to his native Belfast
Belfast
for a homecoming fight. Two days before the fight was scheduled to take place, he was told that he had a cyst on his brain, he couldn't fight again and that one more blow to the head could kill him. McCullough flew back to Las Vegas and was advised by the Nevada
Nevada
Commission to visit the neurosurgery department at UCLA
UCLA
for a more thorough investigation. Within a few weeks the doctor at UCLA, Neil Martin, called to say he had consulted with some of the top neurosurgeons in the USA and they had come to the conclusion that the cyst was not on his brain, but in a space between the brain and the skull – called the arachnoid mater – and that he saw no reason for him to give up his boxing career. Nevertheless, the British Boxing Board of Control
British Boxing Board of Control
(BBBC) continued to deny him a licence. He was relicensed in Nevada
Nevada
and fought again in January 2002. After a very public battle, the B BBC
BBC
could no longer deny him a licence and later that same year McCullough stepped back into a British ring under the Frank Warren Promotions banner.[5] Thereafter he had mixed success, winning five fights but losing to Scott Harrison and Mexican world champion Óscar Larios on two occasions. The result of his first fight with Larios is widely disputed.[6][7] On 17 August 2005 McCullough was appointed the first WBC World Ambassador for Peace and Goodwill in Sports. In September 2005, McCullough became a United States
United States
citizen.[8] In November 2005, McCullough released his autobiography, Pocket Rocket: Don't Quit, in the UK and Ireland. He went on a publicity tour to promote the book, which reached Number 2 on the best sellers list.[citation needed] In 2007, McCullough joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship organisation as a PR associate, to promote Mixed Martial Arts
Mixed Martial Arts
(MMA). He currently trains fighters both in boxing and MMA and is setting up his own charity – IHOW. McCullough vs. Martínez[edit] In 2007 McCullough signed to fight Spain's Kiko Martínez who had just defeated Bernard Dunne
Bernard Dunne
at the Point Depot, Dublin
Dublin
for the European super bantamweight title. The fight between McCullough and Martínez was due to take place at Belfast's Kings Hall on 1 December 2007.[9] McCullough had not fought for over two years and the Kings Hall venue was sold out for the fight. It was agreed that the non-title fight would take place at 8 st 12 lb mark. However, on the day before the fight there was uproar during the weigh-in and the fight was cancelled by the B BBC
BBC
amid chaotic scenes.[10] McCullough had already contracted to fight at 2 lb over the 8 st 10 lb championship weight and he weighed in at 8 st 9 lb. However, Martínez failed to make the agreed weight and was 1.75 lb over the agreed weight.[11][10] Martínez was given a couple of hours to shed the excess weight, but did not return to weigh in again and the scales were closed by a BBBC official. A furious McCullough stated "I couldn't believe it. He comes in over the weight and then after being asked to take it off he just sits there and does nothing. I just can't believe what has happened. I was ready to fight and ready to win and he comes in that much over the weight."[11][12] Retirement[edit]

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On 20 June 2008, McCullough fought Juan Ruiz in the Cayman Islands, his first fight in three years. He lost in six rounds, retiring on his stool. Despite being ahead on two of three judges' scorecards after six rounds, he told his corner he could not go on due to an injury he had sustained in training. The Belfast
Belfast
boxer took the microphone and revealed this might be his swansong. He said: "I think this could be my last fight and I want to thank you all for coming. I am disappointed with the way things went but I just felt I could not go on." Personal life[edit] In May 2004, McCullough changed his name by deed poll to "Wayne Pocket Rocket McCullough".[1] Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary

34 fights 27 wins 7 losses

By knockout 18 2

By decision 9 5

No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes

34 Loss 27–7 Juan Ruiz RTD 6 (10), 3:00 20 Jun 2008 Royal Watler Cruise Terminal, George Town, Cayman Islands For vacant NABF featherweight title

33 Loss 27–6 Óscar Larios RTD 10 (12), 3:00 16 Jul 2005 MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, US For WBC super-bantamweight title

32 Loss 27–5 Óscar Larios UD 12 10 Feb 2005 Palace Indian Gaming Center, Lemoore, California, US For WBC super-bantamweight title

31 Win 27–4 Mike Juarez TKO 2 (8), 2:59 23 Sep 2004 Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula, California, US

30 Loss 26–4 Scott Harrison UD 12 22 Mar 2003 Braehead Arena, Glasgow, Scotland For WBO featherweight title

29 Win 26–3 Nikolay Emereev TKO 4 (10), 2:55 2 Nov 2002 Maysfield Leisure Centre, Belfast, Northern Ireland

28 Win 25–3 Johannes Maisa TKO 4 (10), 2:12 14 Sep 2002 York Hall, London, England

27 Win 24–3 Alvin Brown KO 2 (10), 2:43 12 Jan 2002 Cox Pavilion, Paradise, Nevada, US

26 Loss 23–3 Érik Morales UD 12 22 Oct 1999 Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan, US For WBC super-bantamweight title

25 Win 23–2 Len Martinez UD 10 30 Aug 1999 The Joint, Paradise, Nevada, US

24 Loss 22–2 Naseem Hamed UD 12 31 Oct 1998 Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US For WBO and lineal featherweight titles

23 Win 22–1 Juan Polo Perez SD 10 19 May 1998 Memorial Coliseum, Corpus Christi, Texas, US

22 Win 21–1 Antonio Oscar Salas UD 10 7 Apr 1998 Mohegan Sun Arena, Montville, Connecticut, US

21 Loss 20–1 Daniel Zaragoza SD 12 11 Jan 1997 Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, US For WBC super-bantamweight title

20 Win 20–0 Julio Cesar Cardona UD 10 13 Jul 1996 Mammoth Events Center, Denver, Colorado, US

19 Win 19–0 José Luis Bueno SD 12 30 Mar 1996 Point Theatre, Dublin, Ireland Retained WBC bantamweight title

18 Win 18–0 Johnny Bredahl TKO 8 (12), 1:55 2 Dec 1995 King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland Retained WBC bantamweight title

17 Win 17–0 Yasuei Yakushiji SD 12 30 Jul 1995 Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, Nagoya, Japan Won WBC bantamweight title

16 Win 16–0 Geronimo Cardoz RTD 7 (10), 3:00 14 Mar 1995 Pontchartrain Center, Kenner, Louisiana, US

15 Win 15–0 Fabrice Benichou PTS 10 12 Nov 1994 Point Theatre, Dublin, Ireland

14 Win 14–0 Andres Cazares KO 3 (10), 2:59 15 Sep 1994 Silver Nugget, North Las Vegas, Nevada, US

13 Win 13–0 Victor Rabanales UD 12 17 Jun 1994 Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US Retained NABF bantamweight title

12 Win 12–0 Mark Hargreaves KO 3 (6) 19 Mar 1994 The Den, London, England

11 Win 11–0 Javier Medina TKO 7 (12), 2:44 18 Jan 1994 Civic Auditorium, Omaha, Nebraska, US Won vacant NABF bantamweight title

10 Win 10–0 Jerome Coffee RTD 5 (10) 30 Nov 1993 Civic Center, Pensacola, Florida, US

9 Win 9–0 Andres Gonzalez KO 2 9 Nov 1993 Fargodome, Fargo, North Dakota, US

8 Win 8–0 Boualem Belkif TKO 5 (10), 1:57 24 Sep 1993 National Stadium, Dublin, Ireland

7 Win 7–0 Conn McMullenn TKO 3 (6), 2:43 18 Jun 1993 Maysfield Leisure Centre, Belfast, Northern Ireland

6 Win 6–0 Luis Rosario TKO 6 (6), 1:24 1 Jun 1993 The Blue Horizon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

5 Win 5–0 Manuel Ramirez TKO 5 (6) 4 May 1993 McNichols Sports Arena, Denver, Colorado, US

4 Win 4–0 Oscar Lopez RTD 4 (6), 3:00 16 Apr 1993 Cyclorama Building, Boston, Massachusetts, US

3 Win 3–0 Oscar Zamora UD 4 26 Mar 1993 Reseda Country Club, Los Angeles, California, US

2 Win 2–0 Sergio Ramirez KO 3 (4), 2:34 18 Mar 1993 Paramount Theatre, New York City, New York, US

1 Win 1–0 Alfonso Zamora TKO 4 (4), 0:39 23 Feb 1993 Reseda Country Club, Los Angeles, California, US Professional debut

See also[edit]

List of Irish sportspeople

References[edit]

^ a b McGarel, Bryce (16 March 2010). "Boxing champion in Beyonce video remake". BBC
BBC
News.  ^ "McCullough back on course". 13 January 2002 – via bbc.co.uk.  ^ "McCullough: A fighter's perspective on Chavez-Johnson". 23 September 2005.  ^ "Ask Wayne?". Pocket Rocket - Wayne McCoullough. pocketrocketbox. p. 27. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012.  ^ "Doctor quits over McCullough licence". 1 July 2002 – via bbc.co.uk.  ^ "McCullough secures Larios rematch". 26 May 2005 – via bbc.co.uk.  ^ "Boxing News 24/7". 16 November 2012.  ^ RTE ^ Derek Bilton. "WADE INTO WAYNE'S WORLD". Betting Zone. Retrieved 13 January 2008.  ^ a b "Wayne blows his top". Belfast
Belfast
Telegraph. Archived from the original on 3 January 2008. Retrieved 13 January 2008.  ^ a b "Big Fight Farce!". Belfast
Belfast
Telegraph. Retrieved 13 January 2008.  ^ "McCullough's comeback bout is off". BBC. 30 November 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 

External links[edit]

Official website Professional boxing record for Wayne McCullough
Wayne McCullough
from BoxRec

Sporting positions

Regional boxing titles

Vacant Title last held by Elvis Álvarez NABF bantamweight champion 18 January 1994 – September 1994 Vacated Vacant Title next held by Paulie Ayala

World boxing titles

Preceded by Yasuei Yakushiji WBC bantamweight champion 30 July 1995 – January 1997 Vacated Vacant Title next held by Sirimongkol Singwangcha

v t e

Commonwealth Boxing Champions in Men's Flyweight

1930 – 2010: up to 51 kg 2014: up to 52 kg

1930: Jacob Smith (RSA) 1934: Patrick Palmer (ENG) 1938: Johannes Joubert (RSA) 1950: Hugh Riley (SCO) 1954: Dick Currie (SCO) 1958: Jackie Brown (SCO) 1962: Robert Mallon (SCO) 1966: Sulley Shittu (GHA) 1970: Dave Needham (ENG) 1974: Davy Larmour (NIR) 1978: Michael Irungu (KEN) 1982: Michael Mutua (KEN) 1986: John Lyon (ENG) 1990: Wayne McCullough
Wayne McCullough
(NIR) 1994: Paul Shepherd (SCO) 1998: Richard Sunee (MRI) 2002: Kennedy Kanyanta (ZAM) 2006: Don Broadhurst (ENG) 2010: Suranjoy Mayengbam
Suranjoy Mayengbam
(IND) 2014: Andrew Moloney (AUS)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 24559807

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